Strike Force (TV series)

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Strike Force
Strike Force 1981.png
Starring Robert Stack
Dorian Harewood
Herb Edelman
Michael Goodwin
Richard Romanus
Trisha Noble
Composer(s) Dominic Frontiere (also theme)
Mark Snow
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 20
Executive producer(s) Aaron Spelling
Douglas S. Cramer
Producer(s) E. Duke Vincent
Elaine Rich
Running time 60 minutes
Production company(s) Aaron Spelling Productions
Original network ABC
Original release April 2, 1981 – May 21, 1982

Strike Force is an American action-adventure/police procedural television series that aired on ABC during the 1981–1982 television season, and was produced by Aaron Spelling Productions. The program starred Robert Stack as Capt. Frank Murphy, the leader of a special unit of specialized detectives and police officers whose job is to stop violent criminals at any cost (usually with a hail of gunfire). Mixing elements of Stack's classic TV series The Untouchables from 20 years earlier with doses of Mission: Impossible and Dirty Harry, the series immediately provoked controversy over its violence – at one point the series was labeled the most violent in American TV history – though the series attempted to interject liberal amounts of humor into its regular characters and balanced the violence by focusing on the detectives' personal lives.

The Cast[edit]

  • Series star Robert Stack's character, SCPD Det. Capt. Frank Murphy, is the head of the special Strike Force unit. He is a tough, incorruptible cop, tenacious and efficient on the job, but whose personal life is as unkempt as the home he lives in. He is a recent divorcé who is stuck with a house that was painted pink by his ex-wife, Eve, (who left him for a career in show business, but whom he still obviously loves dearly), where he lives with Sam, his scruffy, oversized, beer-drinking dog (whose main source of nutrition appears to be a brand of dog food labeled "Doggone It" ).[1] He is as tough as nails, but caring and fair...and loyal to the people under his command.[2] Capt. Murphy's favorite food was chili dogs (which he seems to "require" everyone on his team of "Strike Force" detectives to eat)...and his constant nemesis was the squad room soda machine, which seemed to work for everyone in the precinct but him...and is a running joke in the series.
  • Det. Sgt. Paul Strobber, played by Dorian Harewood, is the only married member of the team, and the most serious; A loving family man, with a wife and young son, but easily the most fearless and dangerous Strike Force member on the street. He is like a coiled spring,ready to strike when provoked, as he did when his family was threatened by White Supremacists in the episode "The Outcasts"[3][4] He likes to wear turtleneck sweaters instead of ties, and hates Murphy's chili dog diet, refusing to share in it.
  • Det. Sgt. Rosie Johnson, played by former Australian teen singing star Trisha Noble,[5][6][7][8] is tough, curvaceous, and beautiful...and very much a lady. She became a police officer after her husband went missing in Vietnam and enjoys making-and-deflecting- jokes about her bust size. She is crazy about Gunzer, and often tries to get him to notice her.
Main cast: (L to R) Richard Romanus, Trisha Noble, Michael Goodwin, Dorian Harewood; (seated) Robert Stack
  • Det. Lt. Charlie Gunzer, played by Richard Romanus, is the group's free- spending ladies man, with a dry, wicked sense of humor, who Rosie likes, but is afraid to tell him. He likes fast cars (in one episode, he bought a Mercedes SL sports car)...and faster women, and looks upon the chaste Rosie as nothing more than a friend and colleague.
  • Michael Goodwin plays Det. Sgt. Mark Osborne, the youngest member of the team...and clearly the most "normal" in this dynamic, yet dysfunctional group.[9] Called "The Kid" by Gunzer, he is a dedicated police officer whose favorite food is chocolate chip cookies. He likes Rosie, and has asked her out at least once, but to no avail.
  • Herb Edelman played Deputy Police Commissioner Herbert Klein,the immediate superior of the Strike Force, and a close personal friend to Capt. Murphy. A dedicated cop and family man, Herb was cited several times for valor in his early career, but seemed to have lost his taste for the violence in the streets, and now is content simply to stay behind a desk and wait out his time until retirement. He is also an amateur author,who often asked Murphy his opinion on the novels he writes, that strangely never seem to ever get published.

Although initially popular, the novelty of the series quickly wore off; only 19 episodes were produced, plus the 90-minute pilot.[10] According to Todd Gitlin's 1983 book Inside Prime Time, Strike Force finished a dismal 76 out of 105 shows in the Nielsen ratings for the 1981–82 season.[11] The first episode was released on video in North America in the late 1980s. Another factor in the series' demise was the competition: Strike Force was pitted by ABC against the successful CBS soap-opera Falcon Crest, which had, as its lead in, the then # 1 show on television, "Dallas".

As of 2015 there has been no official DVD release of this series, though there have been several requests for its release and bootleg copies have circulated in the "collectors market" for the last three decades since its cancellation.[1][12][13][14][15]

Composers (incomplete listing): Dominic Frontiere (1.1, and series theme), John E. Davis,[citation needed] Allyn Ferguson, Mark Snow, Nelson Riddle (1.15).

Guest stars[edit]

Notable guest stars during the series run included:

Episode list[edit]

  1. "Strike Force: Pilot" – November 13, 1981
  2. "Kidnap" – November 20, 1981
  3. "The Victims" – November 27, 1981
  4. "The Predator" – 12/4/1981
  5. "Magic Man" – 12/11/1981
  6. "Night Nurse" – December 18, 1981
  7. "The Hollow Man" – December 25, 1981
  8. "The Outcasts" – 1/8/1982
  9. "Ice" – January 15, 1982
  10. "Internal Affairs" – January 22, 1982
  11. "Lonely Ladies" – 2/5/1982
  12. "Fallen Angel" – 2/12/1982
  13. "Shark" – February 19, 1982
  14. "Turnabout" – February 26, 1982
  15. "The John Killer" – 3/5/1982
  16. "Humiliation" – March 19, 1982
  17. "Deadly Chemicals" – March 26, 1982
  18. "Revenge" – 4/2/1982
  19. "Chinatown" – 4/9/1982
  20. "Death Fare" – April 16, 1982


External links[edit]